Information on Estuarine Striped Bass Amendment 2

The Estuarine Striped Bass FMP is a joint plan between the N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries and the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission. The N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries and the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission are developing draft Estuarine Striped Bass Fishery Management Plan Amendment 2. The goal and objectives for Amendment 2 to the Estuarine Striped Bass FMP were approved by the N.C. Marine Fisheries Commission at its February 2021 business meeting. 

For questions, please contact Charlton Godwin or Todd Mathes.

Amendment 2 Estuarine Striped Bass FMP Advisory Committee Workshop (2021)

Amendment 2 Estuarine Striped Bass FMP Advisory Committee Workshop (2021)

The N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries will hold an Estuarine Striped Bass Fishery Management Plan Advisory Committee workshop over several days in September and October 2021 to review draft Amendment 2 to the plan. The advisory committee will assist the division by providing input for consideration to refine draft Amendment 2. Workshop-style meetings allow scientists, managers, and stakeholders to address questions, comments, and concerns more effectively and in a less formal setting. Based on the outcome of the workshops, the division will revise draft Amendment 2 and present it to the Marine Fisheries Commission in 2022.

Amendment 2 documents are draft and subject to change.

September 28: Day 1

Agenda
Draft Estuarine Striped Bass Amendment 2
Striped Bass Stocking Information Paper

September 28, 2021
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Event number/Access Code: 161 794 8968
Event password: 1234
Phone Conference: 415-655-0003

September 30: Day 2

Agenda
Albemarle Sound Sustainable Harvest
Hook and Line as a Commercial Gear

September 30, 2021
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Event number/Access Code: 161 741 8530
Event password: 1234
Phone Conference: 415-655-0003

October 1: Day 3

Agenda
Tar-Pamlico and Neuse Sustainable Harvest
Cape Fear River Sustainable Harvest

October 1, 2021
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Event number/Access Code: 161 977 7855
Event password: 1234
Phone Conference: 415-655-0003

October 4: Day 4

Agenda

October 4, 2021
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Event number/Access Code: 161 367 5297
Event password: 1234
Phone Conference: 415-655-0003
Amendment 2 Scoping Period (November 2020)

Amendment 2 Scoping Period (November 2020)

The N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries and the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission held a scoping period to solicit public comments on potential management strategies in November 2020. One of the primary management strategies for Amendment 2 is long-term sustainable harvest in the Albemarle Sound-Roanoke River and Central Southern Management Area striped bass fisheries. A scoping document outlining the potential management strategies was developed for the public. Fisheries stakeholders provided comments throughout the scoping period.

Scoping Informational Card

Scoping Document: Management Strategies for Amendment 2 (Oct. 2020)

 

2020 Revision to Amendment 1 (Effective January 2021)

2020 Revision to Amendment 1 (Effective January 2021)

In 2013, the N.C. Marine Fisheries Commission and the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission adopted the Estuarine Striped Bass Fishery Management Plan Amendment 1. There are two geographic management units  included in Amendment 1.

The northern geographic management unit is comprised of two harvest management areas: the Albemarle Sound Management Area and the Roanoke River Management Area. The striped bass stocks in these two harvest management areas is referred to as the Albemarle Sound-Roanoke River stock. This stock is also included in the management unit of the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (ASMFC) Interstate Fishery Management Plan for Atlantic Striped Bass.

The southern geographic management unit is the Central Southern Management Area (CSMA) and includes all internal coastal, joint, and contiguous inland waters of North Carolina south of the Albemarle Sound Management Area to the South Carolina state line. There are spawning stocks in each of the major river systems within the CSMA: the Tar/Pamlico, the Neuse, and the Cape Fear.  These stocks are collectively referred to as the CSMA stocks. Spawning grounds are not clearly defined in these systems, as access to spawning areas may be influenced by river flows as well as impediments to migration. Management of striped bass within the CSMA is not subject to compliance with the ASMFC Interstate Fishery Management Plan for Atlantic Striped Bass.

Striped Bass management areas

The Albemarle Sound-Roanoke River benchmark assessment indicates the striped bass resource is overfished and overfishing is occurring. The Division of Marine Fisheries and the Wildlife Resources Commission are considering management changes to lower the total allowable landings to a level that lowers fishing mortality F to the Target F computed in the terminal year (2017) of the stock assessment. Putting in place a new harvest level in January 2021 follows a directive in Amendment 1 to the North Carolina Estuarine Striped Bass FMP, and maintains compliance with ASMFC’s Addendum IV to Amendment 6 to the Interstate FMP for Atlantic Striped Bass. These management measures will be implemented as a revision to Amendment 1 authorized by adaptive management contained in the current fishery management plan.

2020 Revision to Amendment 1

Stock Assessment Reports

Stock Assessment Reports

The N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries and the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission released two completed striped bass assessment reports: the Albemarle Sound-Roanoke River benchmark assessment and the Central Southern Management Area Stock Report. These reports represent a joint effort between the two agencies, and a working group of stock assessment modelers, university researchers, and fishery biologists, to review the best available data and develop analyses to assess the current condition of the North Carolina striped bass stocks.

The Albemarle Sound-Roanoke River benchmark assessment indicates the striped bass resource is overfished and overfishing is occurring. This is a change from the stock status for these waters in a 2014 assessment that indicated the stock was not overfished and overfishing was not occurring. The change in stock status is likely due to a period of low recruitment (the number of age-0 fish joining the population each year from 2002 to 2017) combined with overfishing. The decline in recruitment is not solely due to fishing. Environmental factors, such as river flow, water quality, and blue catfish (an invasive species) may be impacting spawning success and need further study. Following a rigorous external peer review process, the assessment has been approved for use for management purposes.

There is no stock status determination for the Central Southern Management Area, comprised of the Tar-Pamlico, Neuse, and Cape Fear rivers. Continuous stocking efforts and lack of natural recruitment in these waters prevent the use of traditional stock assessment techniques. The Central Southern Management Area Stock Report is a collective documentation of all the data collected, all management efforts, and all major analyses completed for these river stocks.

The report also serves as a record of completed research efforts with implications for fishery management and as a guide for future research based on results and identified data gaps. It evaluates the likelihood of successful population rebuilding under various simulations of stocking and fishery management strategies such as different harvest levels and size limits. Tagging studies in the Cape Fear River showed a consistent decline in striped bass abundance estimates from 2012 to 2018 despite a no possession regulation since 2008.

The Division of Marine Fisheries and the Wildlife Resources Commission are reviewing the data to determine what management measures should be implemented for 2021 by a revision to Amendment 1. Additionally, the Division of Marine Fisheries and Wildlife Resources Commission are developing Amendment 2 to the N.C. Estuarine Striped Bass Fishery Management Plan.

Divison of Marine Fisheries, Wildlife Resources Commission Release Striped Bass Stock Reports (Aug. 28, 2020)

Assessment of the Albemarle Sound-Roanoke River Striped Bass (Morone saxatilis) in North Carolina, 1991-2017 (Aug. 2020)

Central Southern Management Area Striped Bass Stocks in North Carolina (Aug. 2020)